The Blog

2019-08-30

A new 60m season just started. ZL4OL on FT8 despite poor propagation on higher bands.

2019-08-24

What can be achieved with an indoor magnetic loop?

The other day, when I was calling CQ on 20m beaming NW I heard a weak signal replying. I could only get odd characters through. After next CQ though the signal had raised out of the noise. It was Hugh, VA7UNX who was calling and he now had QROed from 5 to 15W. He was using a K2 and a homebrew magnetic loop inside his second floor flat leaning towards a bookshelf! The attached picture shows the antenna in operating position.

2019-07-16

My radiator on my tribander is now modified with separate dipoles for 20, 15 and 10m with the dipoles for 10 and 15 horisontally strung between a center support and a 50 cm long vertical spacers about 4 m from the center.

Two years ago the dipoles were strung from the center support towards the end of the 20m dipole but this was no good. he ends were close to the 20m dipole affecting the resonant point greatly when moved in the wind.

2019-04-10

Today ZL4OL was worked on FT8 and CW on 60m. Mike was about -15 dBs as reported by the FT8 software. So CW workes fine at least down to -15 dBs.

2019-04-07

60 m is an amazing band. Open to ZL long path every morning. But one thing has puzzled me: ZLs has always had a better SNR by 3 dBs on my NW 110 m long unterminated beverage compared to my 185 m long WSW terminated beverage. One can argue it might be due to higher noise on that one but the NW bev sounds noisier. And stations in Europe in the SW direction are definitely much better on the WSW bev.

So this morning I ran out into the woods with my FT-817 and a mag loop to find out. I didn’t bring a laptop and accessories but just listened to the carrier from ZL4OL. And I couldn’t find any bearing. The signal seemed to come from any direction! To me it means the signal came down at a very steep angle. The Europeans on the other hand could be pinpointed in their true directions.

2019-01-20

Today I got the small FT-817nd running on FT-8 using the DigiMaster
MiniProSC external soundcard and the dongle Yaesu CT62 CAT Interface. All from http://www.g4zlp.co.uk/ .

It was necessary to change the default LSB to USB in DIG mode on the rig.

So now I’m prepaired for next vacation trip.

By the way the old free HRD SW was awesome in conjuction with the FT-817. No menue struggle, just click on a button and BIG digits and a large S-meter bar.

2019-01-06

Tried PSK Reporter for FT8. What an excellent tool to find out where to the band is open: PSK Reporter

2019-01-02

Northerly storm during the night. Antennas seem to have survived but the 40m dipole had twisted 90 dgs around the mast.

It was parallell to the tribander boom not to affect the performance of the beam. But now parallell to the radiator of the beam. SWR improved to 1:1 on the dipole but resonance is on 7180 kHz.